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|Niemand brings Cornell College’s Dream Team of 1947 back to life in new book|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
A new book entitled The Dream Team of 1947, based on the 1947 Cornell College national championship wrestling team, has been recently released, bringing back to life an amazing feat which has become a part of American wrestling lore.
Arno Niemand is the author, and turned a labor of love into this project. He is an active supporter of wrestling at many levels. Niemand has received the Order of Merit from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the FILA gold star from the international wrestling federation for his leadership within the sport. He has also been a big supporter of women’s wrestling for many years.
Niemand has been fascinated about the 1947 Cornell College wrestling team, which became the smallest college and the only private institution to win an NCAA Div. I wrestling team title. This unique group of talents also won the 1947 AAU National team title, becoming the first team to pull off this amazing double victory in the same year.
For those with an interest in the rich history of college wrestling, this is a must-read book because of its importance within the sport. However, those who enjoy a good story about interesting and successful people will also enjoy this tale.
Ironically, Niemand competed for Cornell University, the Ivy League school in upstate New York, which is currently ranked No. 1 in Div. I wrestling. His interest had nothing to do with the name similarity, and was entirely based upon the many stories he had heard about this special team and its amazing coach Paul Scott.
Niemand turned his passion as a wrestling fan into a journey in which he became a researcher, a journalist and ultimately a wrestling historian. His exhaustive study of this topic included numerous reference materials, in addition to dozens of personal interviews with those affiliated with the team.
“Every once in a while, something happens in the world of sports that reminds us all why we care, and this story continues to inspire all who have heard it,” said Niemand. “It’s the story of the greatest team you’ve never heard of.
The central figure in the book is Coach Paul Scott, who used ingenuity and wisdom to collect a dynamic team of wrestling talents, some who had returned from serving in World War II and others who were fresh out of powerful high school programs. His ability to identify talent and convince these athletes to attend his tiny school was impressive and inspiring.
However, Scott was much more than just a good recruiter. He was also able to effectively coach this eclectic group of student-athletes, allowing them to maximize their abilities and upset the wrestling powers of their day. The book gives tremendous insight into how Scott was able to put together the pieces of this remarkable team.
“Paul Scott was a real character, a larger than life person,” said Niemand.
The team included many of the greatest legends in wrestling history. Along with Scott, two of his athletes were also later inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – Lowell Lange and Dale Thomas. Niemand gives in-depth information on each of the team members who helped put together the magical season.
Niemand brings you into the lives of the team, from information about their training, their competitions and their travels. One of the best stories is about the unheated car which the team took on road trips, and how the athletes had to suffer through some difficult situations on the way to their success.
“The most amazing thing to me is the fact that Scott did not even field a team in 1946,” said Niemand. “The other amazing fact is that three of the guys were true freshman, only 18 years old. They were wrestling guys who were 3-4 years older.”
We also get a taste of life on campus, in a school with only 415 male students, as well as how the community of Mount Vernon rallied behind this unique group of winners. This was the first team outside of Oklahoma to win the NCAA Championships tournament.
Most of the book is about that amazing season in 1947 when Cornell College was able to 12-0-1 in dual meets, and win all four of their tournaments, including the NCAA Championships and the AAU Championships.
Could this ever happen again in college wrestling? Probably not. This should stand the test of time as one of the most improvable success stories in sports history.
But the book does not stop there, as Niemand provide followup coverage of the next two years for the wrestling team prior to Scott’s decision to leave Cornell College to take an administration position at Davidson College. Included in this narrative is information about an automobile accident that sidelined some of the team members and may have been the main reason that Cornell College was not able to repeat its amazing feat in a future season.
As a wrestling history junkie, one of the things I really enjoyed in this book was a section in the last chapter entitled “What Became of Them,” where Niemand gives a short but interesting summary of the entire lives of each of these individuals. Their personal lifetime stories after wrestling for Cornell were complex and interesting, and it is a wonderful way to wrap up a very good story.
If you enjoy a good read, or want to give a gift to somebody who enjoys an inside look at success, get a copy of this book.
You can get more information and order The Dream Team of 1947 on the internet at the following web address:
The book will also be available at National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo, Iowa and the Cornell College Bookstore on the Cornell campus, among other locations.
Click here to order the book on Amazon.com